Who am I and how did I become the person I am now?
That is really difficult! I am wife to Paul, mother of Helen and James and very much my own person.
An unconventional, difficult childhood, brought out my natural determination and resiliance and I am very focused and highly motivated. At this point in my life, still young, as I was a young mum, my children are almost completely indepenent and I am looking forward to making my way in the world of embroidery with 100 percent focus and positivity. Being a mother informs my work totally so I guess you could say my role as a mother has brought me to who and where I am now.
I am passionate about hand embroidery, the traditional techniques that have been used by women for centuries. Utility stitches such as running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch etc are constant features in my work. Why embroidery.....it feels right, it comes naturally to me. I would love to be skilled in drawing and painting but the pencil or brush feel strange in my hands, the needle feels right. Initially I trained as a nurse but when I began stitching I knew it was right for me, so, with the support of my husband I took my degree and have never looked back.
I consider my best work to be the piece I made for my final degree assessment. 'Helens Cloth' was made for my daughter. I used traditional techniques of patchwork, applique and smocking with hand embroidery. This cloth is special as on it I have embroidered text messages I received from Helen, which I then rendered unreadable by smocking that part of the cloth. This was done to signify the special, private bond between mother and child. All the work I have completed since this cloth continues to be inspired by the role of mothers. Helens Cloth was the beginning of my current body of work and will continue to inspire future embroidery.
I have never been happy with the appearance of my hands, sausage fingers!!, and always wanted long slender fingers, oh and I have never had a manicure in my life!! But my hands are my most important tool. Being right handed, that one posesses the skill used in my making. My left hand though is also essential, I see it as an able assistant to the skilled worker, holding threads, steadying fabric, picking up pins etc. Having said that, they are probably the most neglected part of me, constanly red and chapped and almost always sore from stabbing my fingers with needles!
I don't really have any special 'websites' that I visit regularly for inspiration. I am constantly inspired by fellow bloggers such as yourself however and spend most of my internet time looking at the work of all fantastic creative people out there. My favourite blogs are yours of course, Camilla Engman, and Karin Erikson.
Also, any time I am on the computer I always, always listen to music here,
you can call me biased, this is my son James' band, but I am endlessly inspired by his talent and always asking, where does he get it from?
All above © Karen Ruane. Photos of her work are of 'Helens Cloth'.
Read more, see more: Karen's blog contemporary embroidery